Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #82: Debating Health Care on the InterWebs

Happy Birthday, Mr. President! I can only imagine what the Birthers are saying right now about this day, forty-eight years ago. I could always venture via Google to various Birther-centric forums and blogs, but that's just a waste of my time.

Anyhow, speaking of President Obama, let's move on to his agenda to shake up the American health care system by trying to pass a government-run health insurance option. I'm not going to specifically rant about my views on the debate, but yet again, I will meta-rant about the face of the debate itself. We just need some ground rules so that understanding and progress can happen:

1. Get the facts straight.
2. Agree on the terminology: Are we talking about the health care system as a whole or the health insurance market?
3. If you are going to use a slippery slope argument, admit to it. On the one hand, a government-run insurance option could eventually descend into universally socialized health care. On the other hand, a government-run insurance option could shake up the private-insurance market, creating a vibrant and dynamic health care system, and leading to a more effective form of capitalism! Yes, both slippery slopes are just as valid as they are ridiculous.
4. No weasel words.
5. No bogeyman fear-mongering (see rule #1).
6. No personal attacks.
7. Keep the ditto-head talking points to a minimum, or at least explain the points with facts.
8. Proposed solutions are better than negativity, trolling, and complaints.

I am optimistic that a government-run insurance option, with the lightest touch, might stir up the market in a good way. That said, I've found an example of an opposing viewpoint, free of a lot of stereotypical anger and paranoia. The writer even proposes a solution, all the while avoiding outright ditto-head partisanship. Forum user "world" on the Pearl Jam off-topic/political forum (of all places) writes:

1. Let pharmacies, doctors, and hospitals to publish their prices for goods and services.
(let us shop around)

2. Let all Americans buy prescription drugs outside the United States.
(dude, Mexican drugs are like 80% cheaper)

3. Let all people buy medical insurance across state lines.
(expand our choices, 49 states worth of options)

4. Let doctors and patients negotiate discounts for paying cash.
(small stuff like simple visits would be dirt cheap)

5. Let patients, doctors, and hospitals enter into into legally binding, limited-liability contracts.
(reduce malpratice lawsuits to reasonable levels)

6. End all government mandates that require businesses or individuals to buy medical insurance.
(make the insurance companies earn our business, instead of forcing us to buy crap)

As of right now, the Government wont let us do any of these. Does this make sense? Too bad the insurance companies have bought almost every politician in DC and it will never happen.
Forum user "world" recognizes that the current system with insurance companies is less than ideal at best and broken at worse, and "world" also provides some reasonable solutions that differ from the President's proposed solutions. Even though the current avatar of "world" expresses a totalitarian paranoia about the Obama Administration (it is the word Orwell in the style of Obama's campaign logo), "world" gracefully contributed to the current health care debate.

Now is it too much for the rest of you, on all sides, to act similarly?

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